Done well, satire is a thing of extraordinary beauty.

Like political cartoons, it can ram home raw public sentiment with such brutal efficiency that it leaves the object of ridicule reeling.

Of course, the best satire is done so cleverly, and so close to the bone, that its targets often don't recognise it as satire at all. So it was with a Twitter account that started appearing on my timeline a few weeks back.

Whoever @pureNZdairy happened to be, he was great at getting every clean water lover - which these days is most New Zealanders - wound up like a taut line of new farm fencing.


Using hashtags like #toomanyrivers or #toomanytownies, he self-described as "Just a dairy industry PR guy, telling the Real Pure NZ DAIRY story", and spoke just like the dairy industry folks that I've spent a lifetime around.

As a result, I fell for it too. Hook, line and sinker.

But not before heaps of dairy farmers did as well - including DairyNZ people, Federated Farmers officeholders, and the odd Fonterra staff member - who happily started following their new folk hero.

Naturally, and all along, the urbane, cultured townies were strongly convinced it was a parody - likely because they couldn't imagine anybody so nakedly and unapologetically showing the dairy worldview.

Except that it's typical. One needs to look no further than the rural rags circulating week after week, full of the same old claptrap, to know this is emblematic of an industry in denial. Townies don't tend to read these magnificent works of art.

It was a tweet last week - with an associated video - which began the dawning of the duping. It was a short film that the "PR guy" claimed to have made. I fully expected some rough homemade production taken with a cellphone.

Except it was a gorgeously shot, epically beautiful, minute-long, climatic opus about the intrinsic connection between pure NZ water and pure NZ dairy, but with a rather shitty ending. The total opposite of what the dairy cheerleaders were expecting.

Just who has taken responsibility for this heinous and traitorous act?


One word. Greenpeace. (Upon hearing the word, I imagine the Jaws theme playing loudly in every red-blooded dairy farmer's head).

They took the credit for it yesterday and having sucked in every man and his dog, the question then becomes this. Is it fair play to lead innocent dairy cockies, and their champions, down the garden path using deception?

I have thought about this deeply for at least five seconds, and my answer is this. YES. Absolutely.

I mean isn't Fonterra's giant billboard at Auckland Airport, welcoming tourists to the "Home of Pure Dairy", really satire? They can't be serious, can they?

Or what about the videos doing the rounds last year, of farmers dipping a cup into their local streams and drinking the water. Apparently, it proved to dairy critics that they were perfectly clean. A parody, surely?

How about this one for a belly laugh. At the 2017 Canon Media Awards, the NZ Dairy Exporter magazine won Best trade/specialist publication and/or website.

In a huge, sparkly room, jam-packed with predominantly mainstream journalists, the editor was obviously delighted with the win, and decided to do a little bit of foot shooting via her acceptance speech.

I'll give the short version. Dairy farmers are the backbone of the country, who are unfairly maligned by the urban media, and they're not at all responsible for the degradation of the waterways. Lay off them. Poor wee misunderstood petals.

Beyond hilarious, right? Well, I was guffawing.

There are as many examples of the dairy industry's stand-up comedy as there are dirty rivers but, sadly, I am constrained by a word limit.

If dairy wallahs want to be cute about their belief they have a God-given right to pollute, then Greenpeace can be funny while pointing out the things farmers are willing to do for the money.

Now, let's all throw our heads back and laugh like drains. Impure ones.